Why is it important for Christians to consciously focus on their heavenly goal? Because it is much easier to focus on physical matters; they are simply more obvious. We have things to do, people to take care of or “deal with,” as the occasion calls for it. What are we supposed to do to maintain a heaven-bent perspective when our earthly lives require so much of our concentration and energy? It isn’t easy, but we’re told to set our mind on things above, and for a very good reason.
Paul tells us why in Colossians 3:1-4, saying that Christ was raised to sit at the right hand of God, so we should seek the things above. “For you have died with Christ and your life is hidden with Christ in God,” therefore, our minds should always be on our heavenly goal of being “revealed with Him in glory.” How do we do this? He explains in 3:5-7 that we have to “consider the members of [the] earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” It’s important that we have our bodies in the proper perspective – we have them for godly purposes, not for disobedience. Concerning our relationships with others, we are told to “put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.” Furthermore, we are told that lying to one another is an evil practice that must be laid aside with our old self. Why? Because our new self is “being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (3:9-11). The renewal Paul speaks of is this: Christ is all, and in all. Whatever differences we were previously concerned with in others are now unimportant.
Practically speaking, Paul gives specific attitudes we should apply as a result of our heavenly mindset in contrast to the ones laid aside: “As those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you” (3:12-13).The mortar that holds the building together is love – only with love will we have the unity God expects. Finally, we are told to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts and let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, using it to teach and uplift the brethren.
Apply all of these principles to the following relationships: wives to husbands, husbands to wives, children toward parents, fathers toward children, and work relationships (3:18-4:1). By combining these attitudes with devotion to prayer and an attitude of thanksgiving, we have the heaven-bent mindset. Only when we have these are we able to conduct ourselves with “wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.” Truly, a heaven-bent mindset is the key to the command in 3:17 – “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to Him to God the Father.”
By Keeley Rollert
Keeley Rollert and her husband, David, are currently students at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. They were married December 2008, and they look forward to working in whatever ministry God has planned for them when they finish school in May, 2011.